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Source: US Environment Protection Agency

News Releases from Region 03

$39.9 Million Awarded Nationwide will Help Protect Disadvantaged Communities, Schools and Children from Lead Exposure in Drinking Water

10/23/2020

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PHILADELPHIA (Oct. 23, 2020) — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Associate Deputy Administrator Doug Benevento announced that the Virginia Department of Public Health was selected to receive a $1.3 million grant. This funding will improve public health by reducing sources of lead in drinking water at Virginia schools and childcare facilities located in opportunity zones or disadvantaged communities.

“Reducing sources of lead in drinking water in schools and childcare facilities is an investment in our children’s future, our economic future, and America’s future,” said EPA Associate Deputy Administrator Doug Benevento. “Today’s $1.3 million grant announcement for Virginia provides another example of the Trump Administration’s leadership in helping to ensure that all American’s have safe drinking water.”

In advance of next week’s National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, EPA is making the first-ever selections under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act’s Reduction in Lead Exposure via Drinking Water program by announcing $39.9 million in grant funding for 10 projects. The objective of the new three-year program is to reduce children’s exposure to lead by paying for the removal or replacement of lead-containing drinking water fixtures, fountains, outlets and plumbing materials. The program will also emphasize public education and awareness on lead management in schools and childcare facilities.

“Grants like these allow us to take the necessary steps to safeguard our most precious assets, our children,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio. “All children deserve to learn and thrive in healthy school environments.  These funds will go a long way in helping schools and child care facilities provide safe drinking water to children and faculty.” 

“These new grant funds, along with previous WIIN funds, will allow us to test for lead in drinking water and remediate problems in hundreds of schools and child care centers in Virginia,” said Dwayne Roadcap, director of the Office of Drinking Water at the Virginia Department of Health. “Next week, Oct. 25-31, is National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, and it’s a perfect time to shine a light on efforts like these to protect the health of our communities.”   

In addition to announcing these WIIN Act grants, EPA is helping finance projects that remove sources of lead in drinking water through the new and innovative Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan program and through the State Revolving Funds. Under the Water Infrastructure Fund Transfer Act (WIFTA), nine states have made one-time transfers of funds—totaling nearly $550 million—from the state Clean Water State Revolving Fund to the state Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) for lead-related, DWSRF-eligible projects.

“Here in Southwest Virginia we certainly have Opportunity Zones, and communities that are sometimes forgotten by Richmond and Washington,” said Delegate Israel O’Quinn, Virginia House of Delegates.  “In many of those same communities, lead pipes and fixtures still exist, which is obviously not ideal or healthy for anyone.  Having the opportunity to mitigate this problem in our public schools and childcare facilities will be meaningful progress both for our region and for our Commonwealth as a whole.  Thanks to the EPA for stepping up to partner with us as we collectively tackle this problem.”

Background

The 2016 Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN Act) addresses, supports, and improves America’s drinking water infrastructure. Included in the WIIN Act are three drinking water grants that promote public health and the protection of the environment. Since 2018, EPA has made available more than $69 million to support testing for lead in drinking water at schools and child care programs and $42.8 million to assist public water systems in underserved, small, and disadvantaged communities meet Safe Drinking Water Act requirements.

For more information visit: https://www.epa.gov/safewater/grants

Grant Summary

Lead Service Line Replacement Projects

  • Providence Water Supply Board, RI – $6.4M
  • City of Benton Harbor, MI – $5.6M
  • City of Grand Rapids, MI – $5.1M

Lead in Schools and Childcare Facilities Projects

  • Indiana Finance Authority – $544,000
  • Newark Board of Education, NJ – $7.5M
  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts Clean Water Trust- $3M
  • District of Columbia, DC – $2.3M
  • Elevate Energy, IL – $2M
  • Virginia Department of Health, VA – $1.3M
  • Boston Public Schools, MA – $6.2M

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